UT Austin Exam in Physics: Electricity and Magnetism

The UT Austin Physics: Electricity and Magnetism exam for credit can enable students with eligible scores to test out of PHY 316 and 116; OR PHY 303L and 103N; OR 317L and 117N. Students can choose which credits they would like to try to earn.

The total working time for the exam is 90 minutes. Calculus is used freely in formulating principles and in solving problems.

Essential elements to be studied in preparation for this exam are electricity, magnetism, and optics, specifically classical electricity and magnetism:

  • Electric charge, Coulomb’s law, and electric field
  • Gauss’ law (integral form, application)
  • Electric potential
  • Capacitance and dielectrics, energy storage in capacitors
  • Electric currents (dc circuits, energy, and power)
  • Magnetic field (forces on moving charges and on current carrying wires)
  • Ampere’s law (integral form, applications, and the Biot-Savart law)
  • Electromagnetic induction (Faraday’s law in integral form)
  • AC circuits (resistors, capacitors, inductors, resonance)
  • Wave motion (electromagnetic, Poynting vector)
  • Geometrical optics (refraction, lenses, mirrors, optical instruments)
  • Physical optics (interference and diffraction, polarization)

Where and When to Take the Exam

This exam is given on the UT Austin campus only, and it is offered just before the first summer session, just before the fall semester, and just before the spring semester. Visit the Test Registration System to view and register for upcoming test dates.

Exceptions: 

The use of a hand calculator or any formula sheet is not permitted for any part of the examination. The questions are designed and graded to minimize the amount of arithmetic computation required.

Registration Fee: 

The total of the fees for the test is $85. When you register for a test, you will immediately be billed for the non-refundable test registration fee of $25. After you take the test, you will be billed for the test fee of $60. Payments are due within 14 days of the billing date. All fees are subject to change.

Course Description: 

UT Austin's Department of Physics has several sequences of introductory courses. The most appropriate sequence for you is determined, in part, by your major. Because these sequences cover similar material, the corresponding courses are considered to be duplicates; duplicate courses cannot be counted without prior approval of the department. Complete information about courses is available from the Student Office in the Department of Physics.

Course sequences for which credit may be earned through regularly scheduled tests are as follows:

General Technical Courses

Physics 302K, 102M, 302L, 102N: Technical courses for students who need general courses in physics. These courses are appropriate for Allied Health majors and pre-dental students but are not recommended for pre-med and pre-vet students. These courses are also required for architecture students. Architecture will also accept Physics 303K and 103M, and 303L and 103N.

Courses for Majors in Engineering, Computer Science, and Science, and for Pre-Med Concentrations (Calculus-Based)

Physics 303K, 103M, 303L, 103N: Physics for engineering and Bachelor of Science in geology

Physics 301, 101L, 316, 116L: Physics for majors in physics, astronomy, biochemistry, chemistry, computer sciences, geophysics, and microbiology

Physics 317K, 117M, 317L, 117N: Physics for pre-med and pre-vet students and students in other sciences.

Tests Used by UT Austin

Students who wish to attempt to earn credit by examination in physics have the following options:

Physics 302K, 102M and/or 302L, 102N

  • SAT Subject Test in Physics
  • AP Exam in Physics B
  • AP Exam in Physics C: Mechanics
  • AP Exam in Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
  • IB Higher-Level Exam in Physics

Physics 301, 101L or 303K, 103M or 317K, 117M

  • AP Exam in Physics C: Mechanics
  • UT Austin Exam for Credit in Physics: Mechanics

Physics 316, 116L or 303L, 103N or 317L, 117N

  • AP Exam in Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism
  • UT Austin Exam for Credit in Physics: Electricity and Magnetism

Physics 309K and 309L

  • IB Higher Level Examination in Physics

Study Aids: 

Although the UT Austin exam for credit in Physics: Electricity and Magnetism is not based on a specific textbook, the following books include material necessary to successfully complete the tests and would be appropriate for study and review.

For students seeking credit in Physics 303L:

Raymond A. Serway, Physics for Scientists and Engineers, Serway/Jewett, Physics for Scientist & EngineersSaunders College Publishing, 6th or later editions, or

Douglas C. Giancoli, Physics for Scientists and Engineers, Prentice Hall College Div., 3rd edition, 2000.

For students seeking credit in Physics 316:

Robert Resnick, David Halliday, and Richard Krane, Vols 1&2, 5th edition. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2002, or later editions.

Test Results and Retakes: 

Test results are available within a few days after the test date, in time to register for classes.

You may take the tests on the UT Austin campus only once.

UT Austin CoursesNotes
PHY 316 and 116; or PHY 303L and 103N; or 317L and 117NNo cut scores are publicized for this test.